21 December 2015

3 ways to craft your brand's narrative

Tags:Content Strategy, Content

Telling the story of your brand can take many forms, but whatever shape it takes, it should connect with your customers – often on an emotional level – and encourage them to take action. This, of course, requires that you understand your audience. Determining how your organisation can most effectively reach them can be an exercise in trial and error. Here, we look at three approaches to telling your brand’s story and some of the pros and cons of each method.

Going for the laugh

Comedy, when it’s done well, can be an exceptional marketing tool; however, the operative term is ‘well’, and few can really do humour with skill.

On the upside, humour can:

  • Make people laugh and make them want to share the laughter with others
  • Strengthen your message and build rapport between you and your customers
  • Humanise your organisation by showing that it has a sense of humour
  • Curry favour for your brand
  • Be memorable.

On the downside, humour can:

  • Fall short of being funny. We’ve all experienced that uncomfortable feeling when a comedian’s joke falls flat. You don’t want that for your organisation. You want customers to remember – and buy – your product, not roll their eyes whenever they see it.
  • Alienate those that don’t ‘get’ it or aren’t ‘in on the joke’.
  • Offend. What’s funny to some can be offensive to others, especially in this age of political correctness. Do you want to risk offending your customers or potential customers?

Comedy can make or break your marketing message. So, again, really know your audience, and if you’re not sure your narrative is funny, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution.

Tugging at the heartstrings

Like humour, tugging at the heartstrings of your customers can elicit an emotional response – one that sticks with them. More and more, marketers are tapping into these moments.

Emotional narratives can:

  • Resonate with your audience and drive customer decisions
  • Foster trust in and loyalty to your brand
  • Build affinity for your products and services, and, one hopes, lead to a meaningful and long-lasting relationship.

But also like humour, if you craft your emotional narrative poorly, the results can:

  • Damage your brand image
  • Deliver the ‘awww’ factor but maybe not the conversion impact you’re looking for
  • Again, anger or alienate certain groups.

Conveying no-nonsense information

Though certainly less popular these days than the two above approaches, there is still room for – and value in – brand narratives that stick to practical, straightforward information – if that’s what your audience wants. On the positive side, such an approach:

  • Provides solid facts and figures in our data-driven age
  • Tells your product’s or service’s story like it is: what it does, why it’s good, and how it’ll meet your needs and benefit you
  • Positions your brand as an expert
  • Uses plain, down-to-earth language
  • Can provide enough info to pique customers’ interest and leave them wanting to know more.

On the negative side, though you may not risk offending anyone with this approach, you may risk putting them to sleep. This approach can seem boring or at least lacking in creativity compared with the other approaches.

How are brands most likely to get through to you: with humour, with heart, or with simple, straightforward information?

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